It may have just been used to being fed scraps by people, and had lost some of its fear of humans. It is sad to see it dead, but the officer didn't need to take a chance and then have to get a series of rabies shots. Take it from me, they hurt!
I have sighted an unusual amount of possums roaming around downtown. Hope they aren't rabid! I have heard others mention the sightings recently also. Might be a good idea for animal control to set some traps.
Opossums are amazingly resistant to rabies. Hissing, drooling, and swaying are part of the opossum's bluff routine. It is intended to scare away potential predators, yet it looks just like rabies and is the reason people can be convinced they’re seeing “rabid opossums” when they’re not.
- humane society webpage